Cheese is not just food, it’s a variety show. The multitude of aromas, flavors, and textures found in cheeses throughout the world is more than we encounter with any other food. It comes in hundreds of varieties; even within a variety, differences are noticeable. And it's a food that provides nutrition in the form of vitamins, minerals, and a high-quality source of protein that can be kept for months.
The science behind the transformation from plants to milk to cheese is amazing. In fact, cheese has much in common with wine and beer: They result from fermentation by microorganisms; they are “value-added” products where processing greatly increases the value; and they reflect local climate and terrain. Cheese has fascinated humanity for a long time, inspiring people to refer to it as everything from “the wine of foods” (Vivenne Marquis and Patricia Haskell) to “milk’s leap toward immortality” (Clifton Fadiman)…
The strangest question I have ever been asked is whether you can make cheese from breast milk. And it’s been asked several times.
Why is cheese yellow?
Studies have shown that color -- more so than labeling and even actual taste -- affects our expectations and perceptions of food flavor, and cheese is no exception. Even though the fat contents and flavors in orange and yellow cheddar are identical, some people perceive the former to be richer than the latter.

Annatto is what gives cheese an orange or more pronounced yellow color. It comes from the achiote (Bixa orellana) tree found in Mexico, the Caribbean, and the western portion of South America. Annatto’s major component bixin and much of its molecular structure is similar to that of β-carotene, the compound that gives carrots their orange color. Cows transfer carotenoids (β-carotene and related compounds) from their diet to the milk, where they bind to the fat. This yellow color is not visible since the fat content of milk is less than 4% and the carotenoid concentration less than 0.1%, and the fat globules are surrounded by casein. But most of the whey is lost during cheesemaking, causing the fat and carotenoid contents to increase, and the casein network to loosen up -- revealing the fat so the resulting cheese takes on a yellow color.
Goats, sheep, and water buffalo do not pass carotenoids to milk (converting it to vitamin A instead), so their cheese is white. The additive for white cheese such as mozzarella is titanium dioxide -- a mineral commonly added to toothpaste -- which masks color. Other cheese additives that bleach color are hydrogen peroxide and benzoyl peroxide.